News & Research, Treatment

HeadOn Retraction?

While I was away from e-mail last week, I received three messages from Dan Charron at HeadOn, telling me that the doctor quoted in the story that questions HeadOn’s effectiveness had issued a retraction.

Dr. Larry Newman’s “retraction” looks more like a clarification to me. Namely, that he did not directly say that potassium dichromate 6X, as it is used in HeadOn, is dangerous. In the original article, he said “It’s used to develop photographic prints and if you read about it, it says it should not come in contact with the skin.”

Potassium dicromate is highly diluted in HeadOn, so it doesn’t pose the same risks as it does in its full strength. Dr. Newman does not say that HeadOn itself is dangerous, but that the active ingredient in it is.

Is this splitting hairs? I don’t know because the original article is no longer available. Acting on e-mail messages similar to the one that I received, I assume, WCBS-TV has changed the article. They didn’t, as is usual procedure, add a clarification or retraction along with the article. Instead, they deleted parts of the original story.

Now people who are looking for information on HeadOn and potassium dichromate, like me, can’t judge for themselves based on the information presented. I can’t give you any more information from the original story, but I can give you what I received from HeadOn.

The e-mail from Dan Charron at HeadOn:

“Dr. Newman has retracted his words in a public retraction letter which I have attached to this message. His words were absolutely false, unfounded and misleading and the attached letter clearly indicates that Potassium dichromate 6X is clearly safe and presents no health risk whatsoever, the same being true for all other ingredients in HeadOn.”

The letter that Dr. Newman sent to HeadOn:

“I am writing this letter to correct certain statements recently attributed to me. To the best of my knowledge, potassium dicromate 6X, one of the active ingredients in HeadOn, is safe when applied directly to the forehead — and I never intended to imply otherwise. To the best of my knowledge, there is also no reason to question the safety of any other ingredients identified on the product label in the concentrations listed.”

Whatever the case may be, Dr. Christina Peterson, also a headache specialist, reinforced the potential danger of the chemical after my first post on the topic:

“I can only imagine it is being allowed to be marketed because a) it is not generally absorbed through the skin and b) the concentration is fairly low. I certainly would not risk skin cancer when there is zero evidence of either efficacy testing or safety testing.”

In any case, potassium dichromate itself is a harmful chemical, even if the product contains a very low level of it. Since there is no evidence that it is safe or effective, why risk it?

21 thoughts on “HeadOn Retraction?”

  1. I love this product, and the others also. I wish it would show up on the shelves again. I just talked to my daughter Inlaw and she said the same thing.

  2. I havnt bought head on in several years because I had been picking up multiple tubes of the migrane and the tension headache at my local Dollar Tree every time they had hem in stock. I am now pregnant and nearing the end of my last stick. I started researching to make sure it is safe and I’m finding that the reason I havnt noticed it for sale and years have passed, while every time I go to the dollar store I head down the medicine isle to see if they have any, is because it has been aparently falsely deemed unsafe by the FDA. That is absolute bullshit and the reason you SHOULDNT trust most drugs that are approved by the FDA. This product works. I agree with whoever said “if you have ever had a real migraine you have tried this stuff and it helps”. If you get migranes, you’ve tried everything. I can’t believe this product is gone. I have 6 months left to go with this pregnancy and I have a constant inflammation headache all day, every day. Is there anything that can be done to bring it back?!

  3. Exactly Narats…This is the best product…it does not take long for it to work at all…does it get rid of it…regular headaches…yes, migraines, it take the edge off…so,i love love this product.

  4. You people obviously are NOT migraine sufferers, on you WOULD have tried this product and seen that it DOES work! Why would you comment negatively about something most of you have never used? Get a life!

  5. I come from the medical field, it depends on what ones definition of placebo is. In pain management one can utilize a Tens Unit which basically confuses the pain receptors. It is very effective, but it actually does not treat the actual pain, only distracts you from it. I would say that part of HeadOns efficacy works on the same principles.

    But when I attempt to use anything else containing menthol, like icy hot, vicks, mentholatum etc.. it does not work.


    Sometimes, depending on what caused my migraine it gets rid of it completely, other times it makes the pain manageable.

    I disagree entirely that it is a placebo.

  6. I agree… who cares what’s in it when it takes away the worst pain in the world. And at such low concentrations, I am definitely not worried. I would beg for it to be returned to the shelves. Get a migraine, a real one, use this, then get back to me on how you feel.

  7. I am very upset that the only place I can now get Headon is online and I am being gouged at roughly $20.00 a tube when before it was $7.99… This is bulls**t… I love thia product and I am in hopes it comes back to the shelves…

  8. i get headaches from imflammation, migranes, and cluster migranes. Head on is the only thing i’ve ever found that gives me releif. When i get migranes the pain is so unbarable that i could care less what the ingregients are, i would use anything to take away that pain

  9. I like it, it works for me, especially when my stomach is so upset I can’t take pills without vomiting. When I have a headache sometimes I want a gun to end the pain, so what the f*** is wrong with this potassium bichromate or whatever it is, its works for me and I still have the top of my skull. Thanks to some of yuz guyz I can’t find it anymore. Gee thanks!!!! Hope you get a headache reading this.

  10. I have suffered from migraines for about 10 years now. I use Head On quite frequently in combination with prescription migraine meds. I don’t think it is meant to cure a headache, but for me it alleviates the pain a little. I don’t know if I will be using it anymore though after reading this!

  11. one thing to add. because my headaches are caused by inflammation that slows the blood flow to the brain, ice is the other cure for my headaches. Ice is actually better, but it’s wet and not exactly practical to have strapped to my head and neck while at work. HeadOn feels cold and the cold feeling takes away the pain. I’ve also used “mineral ice” but that is really stinky so also not practical for work. HeadOn probably wouldn’t work for a true migraine or cluster headache which have chemical causes. Mine is a stress headache caused by chronic muscle spasms which stop blood flow. Hope this helps.

  12. I’ve had chronic tension headaches for years. I’ve been on every drug and treatment known to mankind and HeadOn is the only thing that has ever worked for me. I’ve also tried homeopathic treatments and didn’t find them at all effective, nor did accupuncture work for me, so I don’t think this is “in my mind.” although my chronic pain certainly is.

  13. It *is* potassium dichromate. You can see the ingredients here:

    But it’s so diluted (three parts per ten billion) in this product that it’s essentially absent. At the listed concentration, the EPA would allow it in drinking water, and the FDA & USDA would allow it in food, with no problem at all.

    Of course, your on your own in deciding whether the product does any good.

  14. HeadOn PM is the only effective med I have found for my chronic headaches an it does contain Potassium ichromate!

  15. These commercials give me such a terrible headache so I take aspirin. I would not touch this crap or any of their other XYZY ON crap just because of the annoying commercial. I either mute them or change the station. PLEASE STOP

  16. All you really need to know is that it is a homeopathic “medicine”. This means, it is completely safe, because it does nothing! The active ingredients are diluted to such a degree that they cannot be detected chemically. HeadOn is totally safe, and just as effective as say, rubbing suntan lotion on your forehead….

    PT Barnum was right…there is one born every minute…..

  17. I also want to stay away from this product and I wish they would try a different commercial…I am soooooooooo tired of the repeat repeat repeat of thier product name. It’s enough to give you a headache!

  18. HeadOn is a homeopathic ‘medicine’ and as such has NO meaningful concentration of any active ingredient. It is stick of wax. Is it safe? Sure. Is it effective? Only if you want it to be. As someone else has said ‘Apply directly to forehead, wait…and my headache is gone!”

    I agree that wanting a treatment to work can be way more effective than the product itself. And that’s helpful in itself.


  19. What a load of bs! The truth is that Dr. Newman doesn’t know whether HeadOn is safe or not. And neither do we. I know I won’t take any more chances with it, but I worry about all the people who never saw that story in the first place and might not have the opportunity to decide whether the product is right for them given the risks.

    That’s what bothers me the most. I wonder what the TV station’s rationale is. I’ll let you know if I learn anything.


  20. Something seems a little fishy about all this.

    I never believed the product worked to begin with, but this sinks my opinion about it even further: Just stay away from it…

    Fishy indeed.


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